The Press-Dispatch

July 21, 2021

The Press-Dispatch

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 10 of 24

Council approves $13.2M bond to YMCA By Janice Barniak While Gibson County Rede- velopment Commission passed $13.2 million for the construc- tion of a YMCA in Princeton, the money will not be avail- able all at once, so on Wednes- day, Gibson County Council approved an economic devel- opment bond to get the project underway. That will allow the design, bid and construction to start as the tax increment finance fund- ing is drawn over the next few years to support the project. According to YMCA Board Member Jim McDonald, the bond won't cost the county any- thing, and Toyota Motor Man- ufacturing of Indiana (whose TIF district the funding comes from), has shown their support for the project with their own $1 million donation. The com- pany sees it as an attraction to get people to want to live in the area, McDonald added. "We have great schools; we just need some things to do," he said. Councilman Derek McGraw, before motioning to pass the bond, said it would be a "mon- umental mistake not to do it." The effort to get a YMCA in Gibson County has been 30 years in the making, McDon- ald said. Courthouse implements new security protocols By Janice Barniak Visitors to Gibson County Courthouse had to adjust to new security measures at the Gibson County Courthouse. Signs prohibited metal, knives, guns, backpacks and purses in the building — wom- en were instructed to take purs- es, for example, back to their cars before emptying their pockets and going through metal detectors. Those who set off the met- al detectors would be scanned for metal with wand-style tools, like those used in airports and other high security locations. Gibson County Council ap- proved the security updates at the requests of Judge Rob Krieg and Judge Jeff Meade last December. "It seems to be the world is not getting any safer," Krieg said at the time. The design also requires two merit deputies to run the secu- rity, and a backup generator. "( Judge) Rob (Krieg) and I are really getting pressure from State Supreme Court to get it done," Meade said in the December meeting. A-10 Wednesday, July 21, 2021 The Press-Dispatch EAST GIBSON Submit East Gibson news items: Call: 812-354-8500 Email: or bring in a hard copy: 820 E. Poplar Street, Petersburg EMS requests different pay structure By Janice Barniak In a Gibson County Council meeting July 14, Gibson Coun- ty EMS requested the county pay them for every hour of their 24-hour shifts. EMS Director David Pond told the council losing employ- ees would cause the county to decrease service or cease to ex- ist, and that the county is one of the few places where medi- cal teams are paid 16 hours of their 24-hour shifts, presuming that the employees sleep about eight hours of the shifts. He added, local medical teams are tired, after having battled and caught COVID-19 over the last year, doing high risk procedures like nebulizing and intubating patients, in the back of an ambulance where social distancing is impossi- ble. He said employees can work 48 to 72 hours at a time, and recalled one falling asleep talking to him. Pond said, employees are unable to sleep well when they are on the shifts. One employ- ee left in June to be a truck driv- er, after spending two years in school to get his license, he re- alized he'd make more money driving trucks. "They're doing their best. This can't continue," Pond said. "They need help." State District 10 EMS Di- rector Sam Frank told coun- cil members the state is strug- gling to fill shifts, and Gibson County is the only county he knows of that is still paying only 16 hours out of 24-hour shifts. In Perry County, they are four EMS members short and have two to three ambu- lances shut down daily in some places. Five years ago, he said EMS wages were $13-17; now they're $20 -25 an hour, and unlike truck drivers or boat captains, there's no limit on the number of hours EMS teams can be re- quired to work. "If anything, this pandem- ic has done good things for EMS, because it's brought to light what they're capable of," Frank said. "What I see is peo- ple jumping from service to service—it's for pay." Leann Holder, a former flight nurse and current director of the Deaconess Gibson emer- gency department, told council members to understand their local department's dedication. "You think of your worst nightmare. They see it every day," she said, adding some work two to three jobs. "That's not fair to them. That's not fair to their patients...To say you're only worth $10 or $15 an hour— they can't drive down the road without seeing places where they put their life on the line." She said if the local employ- ees go to other services, pa- tients who need transferred to another location will wait for an ambulance or pay, at min- imum, the $10,000 helicopter liftoff fee to travel by air. Deaconess Gibson's Dr. Matt Gilbert commended the quality of medicine the EMS is practic- ing in the back of ambulances, saying the employees are treat- ing collapsed lungs and using advanced drug knowledge. Gilbert said from a work- man's compensation point of view, the council should consid- er what would happen should someone get hurt during the unpaid part of their shifts. Pond ended, saying the EMS team cares about the quality of the medical transport in the county because they live here, too. "People are wore out," he said. Pond said he's requesting 24 hours of a 24-hour shift paid, plus overtime when employees work more than 40 hours per week, as well as more part-time budget to relieve the full-tim- ers. The council did not vote on the request; however, financial- ly the council has been cutting back the last few years, hav- ing given no raises in 2020 and completely cutting all part-time work, only to add back specif- ic positions at the request of de- partment heads. Paramedics are making $19.28 an hour, EMTs make around $17.75. According to Councilman Jeremy Overton, approving the request would mean going from an approved budget of $1.825 million last year to $2.58 million in 2022 — an approxi- mate 41.5 percent increase over last year's budget. The county's allowed growth quotient of 4.3 percent this year will give Gibson approximately $475,000 extra to cover all addi- tional requests in every depart- ment of the county. "That's one of the bigger al- lowances," said Councilman Craig Pflug of the growth per- cent, adding what the EMS asked for would be roughly twice what the county's bud- get can grow. Overton said the benefits packages of Gibson County shows up those from the sur- rounding counties. "Our benefits packages are far and away better," he said. Other counties are charging $109 to $228 per pay more for health insurance. "When you factor that in with what we had, we were pret- ty in line," Overton said. "That's $10 an hour we pro- vide in health benefits alone," said Pflug. "That's the only shocker we had." By Janice Barniak According to Fair Board President Charlie Woodruff, the 2021 Gibson County Fair was an unqualified success. Ride tickets were up, especially on Kiddie Day, and Friday night was the second biggest night he'd yet seen at the county fair. "In baseball terms, this would have been a triple off the wall, bases loaded," said Woodruff. The only drawback was two nights of rain. Motocross drew a crowd he thought might be the third biggest night in his history. "It was a very good year," Woodruff said. The Eddie Montgomery concert brought together the efforts of volun- teers when, at the last minute, it had to be moved into the pavilion barn for rain. "That morning, a lot had to happen. Thursday, after the auction, we had to clean out the pavilion—a ton of 4-Hers took animals home and helped tear down, in case the concert had to go to the pavilion. People worked 'til 3 a.m., then at 7 a.m., another crew came in," he said. He said the fair board volunteers en- joy doing the work and this year, the work paid off in a big way. The board acknowledged the work of Mike Ziebka and Don Cantrall, lights and sound workers for more than 20 years, by giving them lifetime admis- sion to the Gibson County Fair. "He's (Ziebka's) been there so long, it's like losing family," Woodruff said, saying he hoped to make sure the busi- ness knew how much their work was ap- preciated. They also gave the team a plaque and a couple jars of fairground dirt. "Over the years, he ended up with a lot of our dirt on his equipment. We'd have to drag it into the mud, or pull it out of the mud...It's kind of a joke amongst ourselves to give him a little more of our dirt to take home with him," Woodruff said. Emma Shover takes a turn on the swings of a Brady's Amusements' ride. FAIR RECOVERS FROM 2020 CANCELLATION, COMES BACK STRONGER Above: Luke Lindsey digs for the ball during the mud volleyball tournament Saturday at the Gibson County Fair. Left: Powerwheels Derby brought out kids for a mock demo-derby. Photo by Ryan Scott. Below: A Bang-Up Job: Demo Derby contestants went head-to-head Saturday at the Fair. Above: Kamdyn Moore pets a cow named Melba at Kiddie Day Tuesday. Left: Eddie Montgomery, for- merly of Montgomery Gentry, headlined the Gibson County Fair Friday night. Photo by Ryan Scott.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Press-Dispatch - July 21, 2021